S’mores, no dessert captures the magic of the door closing on summer and swinging open to fall, camping and childhood quite like toasted marshmallows between two graham crackers and melted chocolate. It is the perfect combination of flavors. Enter the s’mores cake. This cake is a favorite at our house, combining all of our old favorites from childhood in a much more grown up package.
The first step is to capture that taste that only a graham cracker has. A simple way to do that is by steeping graham crackers in milk over night and straining it out in the morning. Be sure to make a little extra of this wonderfully flavored graham cracker milk because once you try it, you will have a hard time not pouring yourself a big glass to drink. This “graham cracker” milk is used to make your cake.
Next comes the chocolate part, we keep it simple and go wth a dark chocolate ganache, it has just the right texture for that slightly melted chocolate we have grown to love in s’mores. It is important to make it with dark chocolate so the cake doesn’t become too sweet
Lastly and possibly the most important part – the marshmallow! We go with a vanilla swiss meringue for this part that is later torched to give it that campfire taste you expect. Swiss meringue is a beautiful glossy topping that torches very beautifully and is easy to work with to get nice peaks or swirls. It is made by simply taking eggs whites and sugar and cooking them in a mixing bowl over boiling water, whisking frequently until the sugar has dissolved and it is warm to the touch. Beat it for about nine minutes until in turns in to a gorgeous bowl of marshmallow-y fluff. I warn you, once you make this meringue it will be your go to. Our banana pudding and pumpkin pies have never been the same.
It’s never a bad time for this cake, but we love it most on crisp fall evenings around the courtyard fireplace at Togadera in Seabrook after we’ve spent a day of hiking in Olympic National Park. We hope you enjoy this cake as much as we do!
Graham Cracker Milk
- 2 1/2 cups whole milk (this will yield enough milk for one 2 layer cake)
- 2 sleeves of graham crackers
Break up graham crackers and place in the bottom of a clean jar, pour in milk, cover and allow to steep in the fridge overnight. Taste and see if it tastes like graham crackers, if not steep a little longer. When the ready, strain the milk into a clean jar and keep in the fridge until ready to use. You could drink it all but then you will need to make more.
- 1 1/2 sticks of softened butter
- 1 3/4 cups of sugar
- 3 eggs (room temp)
- 2/1/2 cups of all purpose flour
- 2 1/2 tsps baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1 1/4 cups of graham cracker milk
First make sure your butter and eggs are room temp. Grease and lightly flour 2 round cake pans (I used 9”). If you really feel like going the extra mile and want ensure your cake completely comes out, cut parchment circles the same size as your pan and place them at the bottom. Grease and flour those too! Set the prepared pans aside. In a bowl stir together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and the salt and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 375º. In a large mixing bowl or a stand mixer, beat the butter on high speed for about 30 seconds (it should look fluffy). Gradually add the sugar with the mixer still on, be sure to scrap the sides with a spatula occasionally. Beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes so you really incorporate some air into the mixture. 1 at a time begin to add the eggs, making sure they are properly mixed in before adding the next. Add the vanilla. Alternately add flour mixture and graham milk to the butter mixture. I split it into 3 additions of each ending with milk. Beat on low speed until combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and spread it out so the surface is even.
Bake in a 375º oven for about 25 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Remove the cakes from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes before removing the cakes from the pan. Set aside.
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 lb good quality dark chocolate finely chopped (you can use chips if they are good enough quality to eat on their own)
In a small saucepan bring the cream to a boil over medium high heat. Add the chocolate to the cream, be sure it is completely covered by the cream. Allow the chocolate to sit in the cream for about 5 minutes then whisk until smooth. Allow to cool about before using for cake.
- 4 egg whites
- 1 cup of sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1 tsp vanilla
In the bowl of your mixer add all of the ingredients except for the vanilla, place over a pot of boiling water and cook while whisking until the egg white mixture is hot to the touch and the sugar is dissolved. Attach bowl to mixer and whisk on low speed for 2 minutes. Turn to high and whisk for about 7. Use right away.
Place a little ganache on a cake plate or platter, center 1 layer of cake on it. Add cooled ganache (be sure not to let it cool so much that it can’t be spread) If it does cool too much carefully heat it over a pot of boiling water whisking until smooth. Spread and even layer of ganache over the surface of the cake, top with the second layer. Add ganache to the top of the second layer. Carefully spread the meringue over the entire cake, once coated make peaks or swirls. Carefully brûlée the meringue with a propane torch. Enjoy!